“No” was a word I heard time and time again during the campaign years as we pushed for the safety recommendations;
No – the money is simply not available.
No – the logistics of implementing all the recommendations were just too enormous.
No – the government does not want to be constrained by commitments.
No – it was not possible for all the different facets and companies in the rail industry to be pulled together in one common cause.
And so it went on.
There seemed to be a tacit assumption that myself and the Paddington Survivors Group should just accept these ‘No’s. After all they were being given by people in authority, government ministers and we, as little people, should take their answer as fact.
However, what we were pushing for was far too important to simply take the No at face value. The safety of the British travelling public was at risk and we didn’t want anyone else having to face what we had just been through without doing our very best to ensure it couldn’t happen again. It might well be that things we were asking for were impossible but I was not happy to turn away from our chosen path unless we could see or have proof that is was not possible.
Therefore we would always calmly but insistently ask for the justification behind the ‘No’. We requested that the proof or justification for the negative reply be given to us. Funnily enough there never seemed to be an incident where such proof was forthcoming.
Hence with our quiet yet determined challenging there was very little option but for them to back away from their original answer. Whether it was simply a case of forcing them to review their position and consider alternative options I am unsure. However, surprise, surprise, almost every time a way was found through and progress was then made.
So it doesn’t matter how big or important you may think the person or organisation you are making a request from is, do not blindly accept that ‘No’ is the end of the conversation. Without being belligerent about it, and if it is important to you, be insistent and persevere until all possible avenues for progress in achieving your goal have been exhausted. You will find that a great deal can be achieved that was initially considered impossible.